Picture this. Twice a year, in April and October, a group of quilters gather in a chalet near Morzine in the beautiful French Alps for a long weekend. From Thursday afternoon until Sunday afternoon, our every need is taken care of. We are cooked for, cleaned up after and plied liberally with tea, coffee, wine and cake at regular intervals. There is a hot tub on the terrace with glorious views to chill out in, and a massage therapist comes to help soothe away any sewing-related aches and pains. For the 12 ladies lucky enough to be there, all we have to do all weekend is sew, chat, eat the delicious food provided, and then sew some more! No husbands, kids or pets to worry about. No housework. No cooking or washing up. Just sewing, and a chance to meet up with old friends and make new ones. And two self-appointed Quilt Fairies (Elita and Gina) to help you out with whatever you’re working on, from basting a quilt to ironing blocks, giving loads of encouragement along the way.
This is Patchwork in the Peaks, and it is quilting nirvana! For the past two years, my wonderful and talented quilty friend Elita has arranged this fantastic biannual quilt retreat. I’ve been to all of them so far, and I’m so excited because Peaks 4 is happening this weekend!
I’ve already started packing. Not clothes, mind you (comfy old jogging pants and hoodies all round for me!) but FABRIC!!!
Each retreat, we have a project that we all work on. Of course, everyone has different tastes in fabric and so all the quilts end up totally different, but also utterly gorgeous and inspiring. Here are some of the things I’ve made at past Peaks:
Fab Five Quilt – Peaks 1, April 2012
This is my all-time favourite quilt, I think. I use it in the winter to snuggle up under in front of the tv. It’s just the right size, and such lovely cheerful colours. It’s also a big hit with Mr. Boy and Mimi Bubba…
As a consequence, it’s rather furry, but I’m sure they think that just adds to its charm 🙂
Double Hourglass Quilt – Peaks 2, October 2012
I really enjoyed learning the technique for this one, made with jelly roll strips. In fact, it was probably this quilt that got me started on my jelly roll obsession. I also love the fabrics, even though they’re not what I’d usually choose. But I just can’t decide how to quilt it, so until inspiration strikes, it’s staying in the quilting pile in the cupboard…
Ricky Tims Convergence Quilt – Peaks 3, April 2013
Well, what can I say, I love this quilt! It’s now all packed up and ready for the quilt show, so sadly I can’t take it along this weekend for Show and Tell, but I will be taking photos with me 🙂
As for Peaks 4, we’ll be working on the Texas Teardrop pattern. Now, I’ve recently been loving the black, white and yellow look, so I started off with the idea of using this fabric…
…, possibly with some of this thrown in too (you might recognise this from my Kaleidoscope quilt I made a few weeks back…)
But then this fabric arrived in the post today (naughty Pusscat! Bad! You said you weren’t going to buy any more fabric!)
and now I’m not sure anymore… I think it would look lovely for the Texas Teardrop pattern, but also I could quite easily see myself making another Broken Herringbone quilt with it, or possibly using it for some Purse Strings blocks. Oh dear. Well, I’m packing it anyway, I’m sure it’ll get cut into at some point this weekend 🙂
We’re also learning to make the Aeroplane Bag from Sew Sweetness Patterns as an optional extra. Of course I’m in for this one too! I decided that this was the ideal use for my Echino zebra fabric, which I’m pairing with some Echino dots and a plain Moda Bella royal purple colour I had kicking around in my stash. Of course, any short cuts that make sewing easier are welcome, so I treated myself to some pre-made Echino canvas strap fabric too. Aeroplane bag here we come!
We’ll also have a Scrap Attack Mystery project to work on, a Peaks regular activity. The fabric is supplied by Elita (and boy does that lady have fabric!!!), and the pattern and lesson by Quilt Fairy Gina. This is always quick and easy, and lots of fun too. At past Peaks, we’ve made rug mugs, scrap bins, and little purses. I’m really excited to find out what she has in store for us this time 🙂
Charm Square thread catchers – Peaks 1, April 2012
Ticker Tape Mug Rug – aka Executive Drinks Mat – aka Kitty Perching Post – Peaks 2, October 2012
Dumpling Bag . Peaks 3, April 2013
Of course, that’s not all, there’s plenty of time to work on other projects, and I’ve gone and packed a stack as I’m feeling indecisive at the moment and don’t know yet what I’ll fancy doing. Hopefully some free motion quilting, when my new foot pedal turns up! And of course I have popped in the ubiquitous hexies, just in case we have glorious weather and I feel like sitting outdoors basking in the sun and doing some hand sewing!
So the packing is almost finished, and although I’m sure a few bits will be added before Thursday, in the meantime, I’ll be sitting in the comfy armchair in the corner of my sewing room with a nice cup of tea, beaming like a lunatic and thinking about the wonderful, relaxing weekend that’s almost here.
Gosh, what a busy couple of weeks! The summer seems (finally!) to be over (hooray!), and it’s been rather cold and rainy over here, so I’ve taken full advantage of the Englishness of the weather to finally knuckle down and work on some quilts. And boy, have I been doing some full-on sewing!
First up – block 3 of my Fat Quarter Shop Mystery Sampler quilt – I’m really trying to stay on top of this one! I love the fabric and I find myself loving the blocks too, even if baskets aren’t really my cup of tea. Here’s block 3 – now that it’s finished, I’m a quarter of the way through the quilt. Block 4 is now on its way, so watch this space!
Next, I started putting together some blocks for the Molli Sparkles Broken Herringbone Quilt Along. I rummaged around in my stash and came across these Stonehenge 2 1/2″ strips, along with some textured black yardage.
I can remember buying them on sale a while back, with some grand plan for them, but I’ve totally forgotten what it was, so they have now been re-allocated to this new project! And very beautiful they look too – a little like stained glass windows. I’ve put photos of all the blocks so far onto my brand-spanking-new Flickr page, but here are a few of my favourites,
So far I’ve made 10 blocks – and I’m hoping to make at least another 6, which should get me a good sized lap quilt. They are scarily addictive! I’ve also been drooling over other peoples’ photos of their blocks, and am already planning this quilt in about another 10 colourways, if I ever find the time…
I even have some finishes to report! Firstly, I finally got round to quilting and binding my Ricky Tims Convergence quilt for the quilt show. I made this quilt top at the last Patchwork in the Peaks Quilt Retreat, and it’s been sitting in my cupboard for the past 6 months, waiting for me to pluck up the nerve to quilt it. And now it’s not only finished, but also the proud recipient of my first ever hanging sleeve (thanks to a great tutorial from Blue Moon River Quilts, and to the lovely Marianne who sent me the link!)
I’m calling the quilt Sakura, which is Japanese for cherry blossom. I love the way it turned out, and although it’s not perfect, my free motion quilting is getting better every quilt I make – maybe I’m deceiving myself, but by the end of this one, some of the flowers even started to look a bit like the cherry blossoms they were meant to be, rather than the mutant clover leaves they looked like at the beginning 🙂 All I need to do now is add the obligatory label, haul myself down to the DIY store to buy a wooden hanging rod – et voilà!
While I was at it, I also whipped up a baby quilt for Mad Cousin Jude’s new baby boy, did some more work on my Challenge Quilt, started binding my mahoosive purple and pink stars quilt for the quilt show, made a stack more hexie flowers, and quilted my red triangles quilt. I even managed to fit in a weekend away at the Ste. Marie aux Mines quilt show, including a class with the wonderful Marti Michell, where I made this beauty… But more of that in a future post…
Phew! What a lot of sewing! I have been busy, haven’t I?! Makes me quite exhausted just thinking about it all! Time for a cuppa, methinks, before getting back to the machine – 2 more new babies arrived this week, so no rest for the wicked, and all that 🙂
Linking up to Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.